Breaking Down the BudgetJune 12, 2019
The 2019 legislative session adjourned on midnight last Wednesday where we completed our work for the year. I am extremely proud of what we accomplished and look forward to the work that remains.
Thoughts on Budget:
The House of Representatives and Senate passed a budget that is responsible, stable, and funds the Rainy Day Fund at historic levels. The budget makes significant investments in education, job growth, and economic development while holding the line on spending. The growth rate for fixed costs in the General Fund is 1.3% and for non-fixed costs is simply 0.03%. No document is perfect and there were things that did not pass that I strongly support and there were items that I did not like. But I am happy about:
- Through an agreement, the budget funds local hospitals to expand access to healthcare and protect thousands of jobs (Milford Hospital is our largest employer).
- Expansions made to the Angel Investor tax credit and a repeal of the Business Entity tax to support small business.
The budget also invests in Connecticut’s middle class by:
- Funding the workforce development pipeline to better match our curriculum with employer needs.
- Supporting the start-up funding for the Paid Family Medical Leave program.
- Increased funding for Higher Education to help stabilize tuition and improve long-term stability of our college and university system while establishing a plan for debt-free college.
Many who oppose this budget will focus on tax increases, but this budget also reduces taxes and reflects opposition to the Governor’s proposal to broaden the sales tax.
- The approved budget cuts the Admissions Tax at entertainment venues in half from 10% to 5% and provides a new tax credit for craft beer breweries to help grow this booming industry.
- The Business Entity Tax is eliminated as of January 2020, helping small businesses and encouraging start-ups. Additionally, the capital base tax on corporations is phased out to zero mills by 2024.
The budget also makes investment in Connecticut’s most vulnerable residents by expanding funding for essential programs like Husky A Medicaid and Meal on Wheels while rejecting the Governor’s asset test for the Medicare Savings Program. In an effort to support a healthier planet, we found opportunities to reduce single-use waste by implementing a 10 cent tax on single-use plastic bags followed by a full ban in 2021 while helping to reduce polluting emissions through rebate incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. And, we did all this without a single income or sales tax rate increase.
Connecticut must pay-off our state’s debt and I am pleased that this budget uses $380 million of the current year surplus to help support the teacher’s pension fund. Milford residents were clear that they did not support the Governor’s proposal to shift the teachers’ pension costs to our towns and we heard you.
This budget creates a Teachers’ Retirement Fund Special Capital Reserve Fund to further secure state payments of pension bonds, which I supported! I worked tirelessly to ensure that the Retired Teacher Income tax credit remained untouched.
There will always be work to do and I look forward to continuing to work on your behalf.